and Unusual if not Outrageous Outfits
at Dunedin Fine Art Center
. . .
Say the words “Runway, Fashion Show and Dunedin Fine Art Center annual Wearable Art Show” and what do you have? A night of unusual, out-of-this-world strange designer outfits that probably would never see the light of day… only the bright lights of a runway!
DFAC’s August 26 event of the year featured the work of 10 imaginative designers that were a fun look into how art, fashion and function can merge into fantasy delights.
It was an over-the-top version of Project Runway’s themed project of making a fashion look from throwaways and downright weird materials and objects. DFAC presented Wearable Art 17 in honor and in memory of Ruth Payne Stone, a much-loved friend and supporter.
It was a very successful, sold-out going away party and last public event for DFAC’s President/CEO George Ann Bissett who announced her retirement that night. She had served at the helm for 19 years and nine months. Attendance topped 800.
Pre-Glow Party Before the Show
This model said it was difficult to walk in her plastic see-through dress. Her manicure was very interesting.
About Wearable Art
. . .
I met with Catherine Bergmann, DFAC’s curatorial director at their Palm Café over a coffee a few weeks after the show, to ask her about the history of this long-standing event that has captured everyone’s imaginations for the past 17 years.
Bergmann credits Assistant Curator Kaya (Jill) Parwanicka for starting the event as an idea for a fundraiser. She had attended similar fashion events in Tampa and St. Pete and said, “We could do that.”
“We had humble beginnings,” Catherine says, “with our first runway inside the atrium, a make-shift backstage on pallets.” Roll-in bleachers. The runway extending into the galleries.
Early designers like Frank Strunk, Rogerio Martin, Spathose, Ivanka Ska and Carly Champagne set the bar. And, Catherine says, there was a meat dress at Wearable Art (Rogerio’s dress) long before Lady Gaga wore hers to the 2010 MTV Video Music Awards!
There was also Frank’s pregnant model with an ultrasound monitor on her belly, wearable gas pumps that spat out glitter, a ping pong ball dress, a motorized dress… metal corsets.
Wearable Art got so big (standing room only) it was moved to the Dunedin Community Center with ticketed seats and a paid viewing standing-room audience who watched the runway action on a big screen in the art center’s lobby.
How does such a successful event happen?
Volunteers, says Catherine. Lots of volunteers who assist DFAC staff before, during and after the show. Charles “Chuck” Taylor, the Sound, Lights and Video designer and technical director. Dunedin’s Salon GW who has sponsored Wearable Art since Day 1.
Add in an extremely supportive board of directors, a community that has embraced this fun, unusual fashion show for 17 years – and most of all, the designers who provide the artistry and magic of Wearable Art.
Each of the designers invited to participate was paid a $1,500 honorarium.
“It’s truly a labor of love for them as no one is selling a product,” says Catherine. “They work on this show for hours for a half-hour walk-through the day of the show.”
So, now as they say, “Without further adieu, on with the Show!”
The Human Struggle: Good Vs. Evil
Melissa Dolce is a creative director and graphic designer by day – an avante garde fashion designer by night. Twelve years ago, she modeled for the Wearable Art show and the next year she was a designer.
Melissa’s unique collections have appeared in numerous fashion shows, events and publications. She has been awarded Tampa Bay’s Best of the Bay Fashion Designer for several years.
A multi-dimensional artist, composer and performer originally from upstate New York, Rya DeMulder completed three years of a theater degree and then went on to pursue a BFA in visual arts. Courses in garment construction coupled with her love of art and high fashion and live performance led her to creating wearable art.
Most recently, Rya created and performed a one-woman rock opera following the evolution of consciousness at the Tampa Fringe Festival in May.
Her theme of Transmutation/Reincarnation is based “on my practice of transforming found, reclaimed and ordinary materials into something unexpected. . .”
These wearable sculptures, as Amy wrote in the program notes, are “an expression of amorphous emotional states intuitively excavated from my subconscious during states of active imagination and playful discovery.”
Olga Saretsky + Kikimora Studio
Olga Saretsky is the world-renowned artist, designer and choreographer behind Kikimora Studio of Miami. The studio is a unique performance art company that brings Olga’s wildly mesmerizing creatures to life.
Her remarkable costumes have been described as “high fashion circus wear” and have been “displayed” at art galleries, shows and exclusive private events.
Kikimora Studio also produces a collection of exotic dancewear, jumpsuits and body suits tailored for showgirls and circus performers.
What Used to Fit
Johnson Hunt Veeder, a former Florida resident who received her MFA from Florida State University, now resides in Michigan. She celebrates her 10th anniversary with the Wearable Arts Show.
A practicing artist and art educator, she has taught Experimental Fashion, Printmaking and Studio Art at Interlochen Center for the Arts for the past eight years.
Johnny was awarded First Place at DisArt’s Process and Presence: Contemporary Disability Sculpture fashion show during Art Prize 2018 in Grand Rapids MI.
Bay to Bay Wearable Art Collective
Welcome to Our World: Ms. Universe Pageant
A group of seven local artists formerly known as The Garden Fairies fancied their own collection of fashions for an “Out of this World” Beauty Pageant. They each built unique, original “artfits” for their extraterrestrial contestants.
This year is the group’s 10th showing.
Artemis & Aphrodite/Kelli-Lynn Luckey
Run Away with Me
Artemis & Aphrodite is the creation of nonbinary artist Kelli-Lynn Luckey who specializes in corsetry. They are a 31-year-old self-taught artist from Denver who has been living in the Tampa Bay area for the past nine years.
Kelli-Lynn was taught by their grandma in fifth grade. Their creative journey took off with the Tampa Bay Steampunk Society in 2017. Corsets made by Artemis & Aphrodite are made of leather, acrylic glass, heavy rubber and wood.
Julian Hartzog + Sandy Schwartz
The Planet Goddesses and The Monarch
Julian Harztog was inspired to become a wearable art designer after attending the first DFAC show. It took him about six years to come up with his first design. Since then, he’s designed more than 30 outfits… out of sheet metal!
Julian has been on DFAC’s runway six times and has been selected that many times to compete and win numerous awards at the World of Wearable Art Show in New Zealand.
He collaborated this year with creative partner Sandy Schwartz to present The Planet Goddesses and The Monarch.
Jeanne Halle/Kina Kouture
and Featuring Dana Rizutto
Jeanne Halle began costuming many years ago doing wardrobe for theater. Dana Rizutto, owner/operator of Montage Gallery in Dunedin, has many years of experience in performance art as a performer, set designer, costume designer, make-up artist and all-around theater hand.
Alice’s Dream is Dana’s second Wearable Art show. It was true theater.
Renowned for his trademark Balloon Wearables, Mark Byrne has an international audience for balloon artistry and magic in the performance art world. His creations turn simple balloons into breathtaking pieces of wearable art.
ICONS pays tribute to legendary figures who have influenced and impacted the world. Favs include the Beatles and the Yellow Submarine, Elvis, Lucy, David Bowie, Carmen Miranda and dressed-all-in-pink Barbie!